Copenhagen-based, English interior stylist, Kate Imogen Wood, opened up to Oak about what it’s like to work in the Nordic design field as an expat. Originally from the Lake District in England, she moved to Copenhagen in 2011 to work in the creative industry. Wood found Scandinavian design to be far progressive and dynamic – and her passion for Nordic aesthetics is clear in her work.
Here she spoke with Oak about finding her niche in Denmark, and why she thinks sustainable design is far more than a fleeting trend.
KATE IMOGEN WOOD
What does sustainability in design mean to you?
The aim to reduce negative impacts on the environment while maintaining quality and innovative design.
How does sustainability come into play in your own professional and everyday life?
I work with such a diverse mix of brands, companies and magazines all with different goals and aspirations. I am finding that more and more organisations of different sizes, are looking to increase their sustainability awareness in many different ways – But when I do get the opportunity to collaborate with a brand that has sustainability as their core value I work closely with them to help promote this in a visual way – which enables them to connect with people instantly, and give a strong visual impact.
Does the Nordic design field take a different approach to sustainability versus outside this region?
The Nordic countries are full of small individual brands – which have the ability to be true to themselves are they beliefs. This is a great attribute when considering sustainability. They have the flexibility to change and develop in their own chosen direction, and make an impact much quicker than some of the larger multi-national organisations.
Do you have a favourite Nordic project or designer that works with sustainability in an interesting way?
I have recently had the opportunity to work with the emerging Norwegian brand Ask og Eng – who produce kitchens, bathrooms and bespoke creations purely from sustainable bamboo. Founded by Kine Ask Stenersen and Kristoffer Eng in Drammen – Norway during 2016. Kines background in environmental geography and climate change, means that when it comes to design and manufacturing sustainability is of upmost importance to her Kristoffer is a trained architect and the practical aesthetic mind behind the company.
We use bamboo in the designs we make because it has the most beautiful natural structure and framework meaning it is of really high quality and durability, and of course the most sustainable choice. Bamboo, which is actually a type of grass, grows significantly faster than trees up to a meter per day. This means that the bamboo is ready to be harvested after 4-6 years in comparison to trees that use about 50 years. During growth, bamboo absorbs more Co2 than is released during production, something that makes it Co2 neutral over the complete lifecycle. And it grows this fast without using any pesticides, herbicides or artificial fertilizers.
Where do you feel the sustainability movement is going next within the field?
I think the surge of mass consumerism and our throw-away culture will continue to decline and people will buy less and make more considered choices. Thanks to the growing trend in new and changing brands like Ask og Eng Its become more and more easier to shop responsibly, and find something you love for the design and values.
How is it to work within the creative industry in Copenhagen?
Its a great place for open thinking and new ideas – with so much going on within such a small space. I love meeting new people who have a idea and they just go for it!